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Sports Ministry denies abandoning Siasia during fight to upturn FIFA ban



Nigeria’s Ministry of Youth and Sports development has denied an allegation that it abandoned Samson Siasia during his fight against a life ban handed to him by world football governing body, FIFA.

The former international and ex-coach of the Super Eagles was in August, 2019 fined $50,000 and banned for life for agreeing to “receive bribes in relation to the manipulation of matches”.

Siasia vehemently contested the ban and successfully saw it reduced to a five-year ban by the Court of Arbitration for Sports, which also cancelled a fine of $50,000 that had been part of the sanctions imposed by FIFA.

Following the ruling, Siasia told journalists that during his travails, the Ministry of Sports and the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) as well as some of his friends, abandoned him.

But John Joshua-Akanji, Special Adviser (Media) to the Minister of Sports, Sunday Dare, said in a statement in Abuja that contrary to insinuations by Siasia, the ministry actually raised money for him.

“The ministry, through the Minister, was able to raise the money which Siasia personally collected while he was also connected to persons and entities who raised money to assist him in appealing his case at the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS),” said Joshua-Akanji

Read Also: Siasia’s life-ban from football by FIFA reduced to five years by CAS

“In response to concerted appeal launched by the Minister, the Governors of Lagos, Edo and Delta made available money which was handed over to Siasia at different times.

“A couple of individuals, at the instance of the Minister, also raised money which was handed to him in cash.

“The Minister stayed on top of the case by pulling all strings to assist Siasia.

“In addition to the governors of Edo, Delta and Lagos, he (Dare) made an appeal to Gov. Kayode Fayemi who is the Chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum and Ekiti State Governor.

“In another instance, the Minister took Siasia on a visit to the then Bayelsa Governor, Seriake Dickson, to appeal for support for him.

“Siasia’s claim that government did nothing to assist him is untrue, deceitful, and misleading.

“While there is no budgetary provisions for such incidents, the Ministry and the Office of the Minister gave Siasia all the support that led to the mitigation of his life ban from football-related activities,” he added.

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